Life in Quarantine: How to Adapt Your Daily Routine

Olivia | 03 May 2020

For the first time in our careers, many of us will be experiencing what it is like to be working from home, getting home schooled, or possibly just spending significantly more time tucked away indoors with our families and friends.

Such a drastic change requires a whole new set of rules and routines to ensure our productivity levels do not decrease. Otherwise, it would be far to easy to stay in our PJ’s all-day and aimlessly scroll through social media or binge on Netflix with periodic but ever-increasing raids on our food supplies.

Key points

  • Create a list of your additional responsibilities

  • Give yourself, and others in your house plenty of space

  • Set up a distinct place to do work

  • Repurpose the time you used to spend on your daily commute

  • Draw clear distinctions between work and personal life

1. Note Down All the Extra Responsibilities You’ll Have at Home

Obviously, the switch from an office to a home environment will involve a very different array of daily tasks that need to be completed.

At your office you may not have pets, children, or loved ones to look after. All of a sudden, every meal needs to be cooked and you may sometimes wonder how on earth the house gets so dirty after cleaning it just the other day.

Rest assured, these are things we all have in common and the best way to navigate the additional tasks is to first identify them. A common way of approaching this is listing your current routine and what you want to accomplish each day on some spare paper or in a journal, then writing down the extra responsibilities that are specific to working at home.

Finally, try to group your daily tasks can be grouped, for example by cooking lunch for the week on Sunday. Adhere to your new schedule and you will find more pockets of free time throughout the week.

2. Give Yourself Space

You may not necessarily feel it under normal conditions but on staying at home now means you will be spending significantly more time with the people you may share your house with. So what should you do now if you suddenly feel claustrophobic or in need of personal space?

This is a problem many people have grappled with during quarantine and there’s a few different ways to approach it. It’s all well and good to be told to schedule in ‘me time’ but what good is that when you have kids to supervise or noisy housemates?

If you are a parent, you may want to allow your children to get into the habit of following online tutorials in creative or athletic activities. This will allow you to unwind between work and house responsibilities for up to an hour while your kids are preoccupied. If you’re not sure where to look, we recommend trying PE with Joe Wicks. Another option is to go on runs in your local park, short family walks, or possibly try taking up biking if allowed.

3. Set up a Work Space

At work it's easy to take having own little desk and workspace for granted, however, setting up a distinct place work at home will help you retain focus and motivation throughout the day.

If possible, try to avoid working while lying in bed or on the sofa, these may be some of hardest please in our homes to engage in productive work and you may find yourself feeling a bit sluggish. Memory works by association, meaning most people will associate the bed or sofa as places of rest not work. Therefore, transforming such places into work spots will be extremely difficult as your brain has to rewire decades of association. It is far easier to build new association between productive work and a new workspace than to change old ones.

4. Repurpose your Commute

Commuting is often the worse part of our days. Let’s be honest, no one likes to stand in hot, crowded and unhygienic public transport for hours on end. One of the rare benefits of quarantine is that it gives you the opportunity to repurpose your commuting hours. This means you can now use the extra time to develop a new skills and habits, such as immersing yourself in a book or enrolling in online courses. But if you could use the rest, don’t feel guilty about spending some extra time in bed. Repurpose this time to work for you.

Check out our other post to discover how to develop new habits...

5. Draw a Clear Distinction between Work Life and Personal Life

Lastly, and most importantly, draw a clear line between work and personal life. It’s super easy to get the two internwined when we spend all our time at home. But, this can lead to burnout and feelings of anxiety.

Despite being at home, separate the two by trying to follow your typical work routine. For instance, have lunch when you used to and sprinkle in a few coffee breaks throughout the day. By treating work hours as you usually have, you can help keep the personal side of your life separate.